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Though national officials are refuting reports of a global wine shortage, Deb Wahl of Oak Creek Vineyards and Winery in Cornville says she’s increasing production in response to rising demand.

Though national officials are refuting reports of a global wine shortage, Deb Wahl of Oak Creek Vineyards and Winery says increasing demand is pressuring her, and other Verde Valley winemakers, to produce more. “We can’t plant enough, we can’t produce (enough),” said Wahl, Oak Creek’s owner. “Even with my small winery, I’m always under the gun to produce more (and) produce better. That’s a good problem to have, right?” Read more»

Nikki Check, Yavapai College’s director of viticulture, with student Joey Estrada, shows grapevines growing on an acre of borrowed land next to campus.

Launched in 2009 in collaboration with the Verde Valley Wine Consortium and the Cottonwood Chamber of Commerce, the Yavapai College’s viticulture and enology program offers certificates in viticulture, focusing on the science, production and study of grapes, and in enology, the study of wine and winemaking. Read more»

Vines at Alcantara Vineyard, one of the growing number of wineries drawn the favorable altitude and soil of the Verde Valley.

The Verde Valley has for long been a tourist destination, luring visitors to Sedona, parks featuring ancient American Indian dwellings, the ghost town of Jerome and other attractions. But only recently has wine become a draw in its own right. Read more»

Barbara Pope, of Superior, lost her left middle finger to infection after she was bitten by ants. She said her challenges continued after her release from the hospital because her community doesn’t offer much in terms of medical care and lacks a pharmacy.

Of the four Arizona counties that already had more than one out of five residents age 65 or older in 2009, all are in rural areas. As this shift occurs, experts and advocates warn that rural areas will lack the doctors, care homes, transportation and other services needed by an older population. Read more»